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North Korea Vows to Make More Nuclear Weapons

  • Kurt Achin

North Korea has wasted no time in responding angrily to the passage of a new United Nations Security Council resolution. Pyongyang says it will use both plutonium and uranium technologies to create more nuclear weapons.

North Korea announced Saturday it would "weaponize" its remaining supply of plutonium, as well as begin enriching uranium in order to make nuclear weapons.

The statement, issued by the North's Foreign Ministry and carried on official media, was an angry response to new international sanctions passed Friday by the United Nations Security Council.

Resolution 1874 severely restricts what may or may not be shipped to the North, and opens the door for U.N. members to target North Korean business interests with financial sanctions. It was passed in response to the North's nuclear weapons test last month.

North Korea said Saturday it has become "absolutely impossible" to even consider giving up its nuclear weapons. The Pyongyang statement warns any attempt to "blockade" its ships will result in military action.

Daniel Pinkston, a senior Northeast Asia analyst for the International Crisis Group in Seoul, says North Korea's pledge to "begin a process of uranium enrichment" is a reminder Pyongyang probably has help from partners.

"There are concerns about cooperation with Iran, for example. That's something I'm quite concerned about," he said.

North Korea has denied since 2002 U.S. accusations of fostering a covert uranium nuclear program. Now that Pyongyang apparently plans to pursue uranium enrichment openly, Pinkston says Iran may have much to offer.

"Technology, components, materials, parts, designs, data - you know, across-the-board cooperation. And the North Koreans can cooperate and work with the Iranians on the missiles as well," he said.

The North's recent acceleration of its nuclear development is expected to top the agenda of next week's summit between South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington.


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